French start up SeaBubbles had once again proved the words of Napoleon Hill, “There is always plenty of capital for those who can create practical plans for using it” absolutely correct. They have been successful in raising $550,000 in funding to build egg-shaped taxis flying above the river Seine to reduce traffic in Paris.
The battery-driven river shuttle can be convoked by a smartphone and piloted by a robot. These taxis can travel for up to 80-100 km on a single charge.
Two entrepreneurs of SeaBubbles are working on the project and have been successful in raising funds for the first round, where as the next round of funding will be done by August to develop the taxi app and docking stations around the pod.
SeaBubbles wants to build battery operated bubble shaped ships that hover a few inches above water which can transport maximum five people including a pilot at a time. Thebault, one of the founder, said, “The goal is to forgo the pilot and make the system fully autonomous in a few years once regulation allows it.”
As more cash is required to turn their dreams into cabs, the startup said they have reached out to car-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. as well as construction company Vinci SA and luxury-goods maker LVMH. The matter is in discussion and shortly they expect to reach at some concluding decisions.
“You’ve got packed roads and empty waterways in a lot of cities – there’s an obvious opportunity,” co-founder Alain Thebault said in an interview. “We want to build water taxis.” Founders Anders Bringdal and Thebault, a surfer and a math-loving sailor respectively, together broke the record for speed on a floating sailboat they’d designed in 2009.
The founders said SeaBubbles has the support of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has pledged to cut pollution in the city. Carmakers, battery vendors and software engineering companies have expressed interest in helping develop upgrades and scale production.
The startup will sell the pods to individuals as well as countries, cities and companies, but its founders are still debating whether they want to manage a taxi service themselves or outsource it.
Expected to launch by summers in 2017, the taxis will be available for booking through a dedicated app and will have their own docking ports. The founders wish to showcase the first bubble at the 2017 Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Read full story at Bloomberg